There are times when the story of Tesla comes with strange stories. Over the years, I’ve covered a number of these, from EV dealerships being filled with raw meat to strange attacks on Teslas due to Elon Musk’s hatred. Even among these, however, the recent demonstration of “battery fire” from AXA Insurance is something else – because of its stupidity.
The purpose of the AXA Insurance test was simple – EV batteries can catch fire in the event of an accident. As noted in an earlier piece by my colleague Johnna Crider, AXA accomplished this by removing the battery from a Tesla Model S sedan and rigging the vehicle with pyrotechnics. In this way, the display was “safe” and AXA could be assured that a “battery fire” would indeed occur.
The best thing about all this was AXA he openly accepted this. “For safety reasons, it was not possible to light a real battery fire at an event with about 500 people, so a fire with pyrotechnics was made,” the insurer explained.
A video of the demonstration has gone viral on the Internet, and without the actual test results, viewers could easily be fooled into thinking that Teslas can catch fire easily. In the video, a yellow Model S sedan can be seen being driven into a driveway, roll over, land on its roof, and burst into flames.
The interesting thing about all these events was that without the shenanigans pulled by AXA – such as removing the battery and raising the car with pyrotechnics – it would have been very difficult to show how Tesla was burning. Tesla said in a statement 2021 Impact Report that fire incidents are 11x lower for its vehicles than the average in the United States.
AXA had launched the Tesla Model S and battery pack, there was a very good chance that no fire would have occurred. Apart from this, the Model S battery pack gives the car a very low center of gravity, so turning the car would also be difficult. In short, the Model S sedan would embarrass AXA by refusing to turn or catch fire if it had a battery.
Hence the pyrotechnics.
One would think that AXA Insurance knew what it was doing. AXA is a famous insurer that covers Teslas, after all, so it seems safe to assume that the company knows how rare battery fires are. AXA says it wanted to show how hot cars could start a fire in an EV, but ended up showing a fire that isn’t near a hot race track.
All of this seems very careless to the insurance provider. Tesla, after all, is in the process of building a legal team determined to protect the company from unfair and damaging efforts. The battery burn in the Model S without a battery misrepresents the safety of all EVs, so Tesla may have grounds to sue the insurer. And this, in a way, would be interesting to watch AXA’s Model S “battery fire” video.
Anyway, here’s a video of AXA’s “battery fire” demonstration using a Tesla Model S with no battery.
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